The Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST) in collaboration with the University of Guyana (UG) will this year construct a dormitory facility to house visiting experts in the field of science and technology.
The facility, which will be built at a cost of US$250,000, will be constructed in the IAST compound and will be funded by Canadian Oil and Gas Exploration Inc (CGX). It is being built in honour of CGX founder, Dr Kamal Dookie.
A simple turning of the sod ceremony was held yesterday at the IAST base at Turkeyen, and according to Professor Suresh S Narine, Director of IAST, the hall of residence will allow visiting experts from foreign institutions to be housed in a safe, comfortable, and inexpensive environment conducive to technology transfer, training and academic endeavours.
The Hall of Residence is expected to be completed by the end of the year and will house visiting faculty and technical experts who are engaged in research, technology transfer and educational outreach with the IAST and UG. The residence will also be furnished at the expense of CGX, and on completion will be handed over to the IAST.
The facility will further enhance the collaborative relationship between IAST, UG and Trent University of Canada, through various programmes which are in place to facilitate the training of graduate students in Guyana in the area of science and technology, including the petroleum oil and gas sectors.
According to Professor Narine, “as we look forward to revenue from an entirely new sector, it is very important that at the same time we articulate that development will only be sustainable if we invest in the social fabric, culture and sustainable way of ensuring livelihood”.
He added that “it is important that as we prepare for what we hope to be a lucrative sector that we have to take the responsibility as well of ensuring that we prepare our people, our education system, our governance system and our entire society to be responsible for managing what we hope to be a successful outcome.”
The project is seen as a vision for growth and promulgation of science and technology education for the purposes of poverty alleviation and sustainable development, articulated by the Government of Guyana and IAST.
Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud, said the government is in support of the partnership between the private sector and learning institutions in and out of the country, since resources become more limited if government is to venture into the areas of science and technological development.
CGX, in partnership with other Canadian companies, as well as the Canadian High Commission is actively engaged in efforts to raise additional funding for the continued management, staffing and upkeep of the building.
Canadian High Commissioner, David Devine, speaking at the event yesterday, noted that it is important that one recognizes that the facility will not only be a residence, but a place to share knowledge, academic capacity and the hope of everyone for an exciting future for the country.
He pointed out “the building of this hall of residence by CGX will allow visiting academic and researchers to help expand the technical capacity of IAST, and is an important development that touches on a wide number of areas from technology transfer to corporate social responsibility to enhancing the education programmes.”
This initiative is the first major social outreach by CGX Energy, and Vice President of Exploration at CGX, Dewi Jones, emphasized that in addition to its search for hydro-carbon resources in Guyana, his company has always believed in social responsibility and has made its first major step by supporting the construction of the hall of residence at the IAST. He said CGX believed that science and technology can play a major role in sustainable development.
Vice Chancellor (ag) of UG, Dr Marlene Cox, stated that this project augurs well for the university which she noted is operating on limited resources. She noted that at present UG only has limited accommodation for visiting lecturers.
Dr Dookie, in whose honour the facility will be built, stated that his company will continue to support the IAST as well as other educational institutions around the country. He also threw his support behind the proposed mining school at Linden, noting that he is mobilizing other companies to assist in the realization of that venture.